Day 18: Wednesday, April 22
“Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward! But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
“Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward! But whenever you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So pray this way:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be honoured, may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
“For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.
“When you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward! When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others when you are fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
The Scriptures quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.
COMMENT & QUESTIONS
This entire section is about hypocrisy. What is hypocrisy? In what ways have you seen people being hypocritical in their lives?
Hypocrisy is about saying one thing and acting the opposite. Religious people are especially susceptible to hypocrisy because they are often teaching how life ought to be lived. Even Jesus' own disciples were guilty of saying one thing but doing another. A famous example is Peter who declared that he would never deny Jesus (Matt 26:33), but then denied him a few hours later (Matthew 26:69-75). It's a lot easier to say something than to do it. James warns us not to be 'hearers only' but doers of the word (James 1:22-25).
It’s very easy to point out how others are hypocritical, but Jesus asks us to notice the hypocrisy in our own lives. Do you ever feel guilty of hypocrisy in these areas – giving and serving, praying and worshipping, fasting and religious duties?
Pray that we will focus on the reward from the Father, not the reward from humans Pray for daily bread, for God’s will to be done, for His Kingdom to increase, for forgiveness of sins and for deliverance from temptation